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Last Batch of Columbine Massacre Notes Released

July 07, 2006|Nicholas Riccardi | Times Staff Writer

GOLDEN, Colo. — Sheriff's officials Thursday released the last batch of documents from their investigation of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, a trove that included one killer's essays about guns in high schools and a diary kept by his father that dismisses complaints against his son from another classmate.

With 25,000 pages of Columbine-related documents already in the public domain, Thursday's 946-page coda offered little new information. But it did provide additional details about Eric Harris' and Dylan Klebold's plotting.

Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink made the documents public in response to a lawsuit from the Denver Post. However, he declined to release home videotapes the two killers made before their attack, saying they could spawn copycat crimes.

While much of the handwritten rantings of the two teenage killers was familiar, a new voice emerged in the documents released Thursday -- that of Harris' father.

Wayne Harris kept a diary in a steno notebook marked "Eric" that detailed numerous contacts with school officials and law enforcement authorities after his son and Klebold were arrested for burglarizing a van in 1998. The two were sentenced to a diversion program.

In the notebook, Wayne Harris also dismissed complaints made by Brooks Brown, a classmate who had reported Eric Harris to police as dangerous. "We don't want to be accused everytime something supposedly happens," Wayne Harris wrote. "Eric is not at fault. Brooks had problems ... manipulative & con artist."

Among the documents released Thursday was a day planner in which one of the killers marked down April 20, the date of the attack, and 11:10 a.m., the time they would launch it. Underneath the marking is a lengthy to-do list that includes "Get nails" and "Finish fuses."

Along with detailed school maps and lists of classmates they hoped to kill were several of Harris' high school essays, including one on Nazism and an autobiographical piece written in November 1998 in which Harris described his car burglary case.

As a result of a plea bargain, Harris wrote that he and Klebold were "on a track that makes it mandatory for me to be a literal angel until March of '99." The pair staged their Columbine assault in April 1999.

In another essay, Harris mused upon the problem of school shootings. "Students can get weapons into school too easily and they have [too] much access to weapons outside of school," he wrote.

He proposed more metal detectors and police on school grounds as deterrents. "Almost every school shooting could have been prevented in some way or another," Harris wrote. "We just have to spend the necessary time and money to figure out how."

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